20 Apr

Better management of sales relationships

CaseStudy-foodClient: International Food supplier.

Licensee: Renuma.

A dedicated one-day workshop for the sales team enabled them to understand their relational environment and apply insights from the Relational Proximity® Framework. Bespoke exercises enabled them to analyse and reflect on their supply chain relationships. As a result, the team started prioritising different relationships.

Overview

Our client’s European customers were increasingly demanding more information regarding supply chain sustainability and ethics. However, it was hard work to extract such information from some suppliers in less developed countries and relationship managers were finding these added requirements difficult to fulfil across their portfolio of clients/suppliers.

Their existing supply strategy had been to purchase from a wide variety of suppliers, in their words a ‘scatter-gun approach’. Analysing a specific relationship between our client and a long-standing African supplier, using the Relational Proximity Framework™, enabled the team to diagnose its strengths and weaknesses. The supplier was reluctant to give much information about their supply chain and none about their own business; there was a sense of distrust based on the hidden belief that our client was making excessive profits. We explored ways to build trust, break down the relational barriers and then decide, depending on the supplier’s reaction, whether this was a relationship worth investing in to build a partnership for the future.

Results

The possibility of being able define the foundations for partnerships led to a strategic discussion around growth opportunities through focusing on a smaller number of suppliers. The aim would be to increase volume and price stability by closer understanding and co-operation. The additional benefit being increased information about origin for European customers.

The RPF gave a framework and language to:

  • assess the quality of the current relationships,
  • define what Relational strength would look like

enable the team to go away and develop strategic relationships themselves

20 Apr

Stakeholder relational strength assessed and prioritised

CaseStudy-utility

Client: UK Utility Company.

Licensee: Renuma.

Systematic assessment of all types of external stakeholder enabled the identification of strong relationships and prioritisation of weaker ones. The process gave the senior management team greater insight about their organisational competencies and where strategic stakeholder risk needed to be addressed.

Overview

A UK utility company wanted to improve their understanding of their relationships with external stakeholders in a way that produced actionable intelligence rather than just diagnostic information. Renuma delivered a structured two-way scan of the most important stakeholder sectors to identify where relationships were strong and where there may be operational risk

Results

The scan approach resulted in a heat map of relationships that clearly indicated where the utility and sectors agreed the relationships were strong, where they agreed they were weak and where there was a different perspective between the two parties. The company was particularly strong at relating to other large businesses and industry-related organisations. However, there was some distance in its relationships with representatives of the public (e.g. environmental groups, public bodies, media).

Outcome

The utility was equipped with the necessary data to demonstrate to stakeholders and regulators the quality of its relationships. The detailed insight enabled the development of a focussed and strategic approach to its stakeholder engagement.

 

20 Apr

Relationship managers understand commissioning relationships

CaseStudy-clinical

Client: UK Commissioning Support Unit.

Licensee: Renuma.

Two dedicated relational workshops for the client relationship team enabled them to start to understand and apply insights from the Relational Proximity® Framework. Bespoke exercises enabled them to analyse and reflect on organisational dynamics that made their relationship management task difficult. As a result, the team changed the way they engaged internally and with clients.

Overview

The Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) had created a client relationship team to be the main point of contact with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local authorities, which were their main clients. Each member of the team had responsibility for multiple organisations. Their ability to fulfill their role was hampered by the quality of their relationships and Renuma was commissioned to help the team improve these.

Outcome

Training the team in the Relational Proximity® Framework enabled them to begin to understand what might be behind some of the client relational dynamics they were experiencing. Their common understanding catalysed discussions about how they could practically build their team identity and improve their engagement with the multiple channels of influence in place between the CSU and its clients.

20 Apr

Inter-departmental tensions resolved

WEB-NGOClient: International NGO.

Licensee: Renuma.

Tension between two departments was resolved by using insight from Relational Proximity® measurement. Data enabled the senior teams to understand the underlying causes of their difficulties and begin to address them. After a single intervention, the participants put in place a number of actions to enable them to work more positively together.

Overview

The directors of these two departments recognised that the state of their groups’ relationship was affecting the organisation’s ability to function effectively. There was tension at all levels.. The directors had previously tried to resolve the situation but there had been very little change. Renuma was commissioned to bring clarity to the situation and enable the senior teams to collaborate.

Results

The relationship between the departments was measured and the analysis used to prepare an improvement workshop for the directors and senior teams. The results of the Relational Proximity® survey indicated that one department felt misunderstood by the others and unfairly blamed when things didn’t go well. Both sides agreed that their objectives were fundamentally misaligned.

Workshop participants identified from the data the issues they particularly needed to work on and Renuma used a number of exercises to build mutual understanding and collaborative behaviour. The first session of the workshop was used to develop empathy between the departments, which enabled them to begin to hear each other’s challenges ‘as if for the first time’ as one participant put it. Having built a stronger foundation, the rest of the workshop focused on developing shared purpose between the participants and identifying a number of immediate actions that would enable the departments to work better together.

Outcome

The workshop brought a sustained change in the relationship, with one of the directors commenting a year later that ‘things have definitely changed – your intervention loosened the ground to have “good conversations” and share resources’. The strength of the project was in enabling participants to vocalise their differences and challenges using a common vocabulary – the use of data initiated a more practical and less emotive conversation than they had previously managed to have. The workshop identified that much of the tension they were experiencing originated outside the two departments and this insight helped them to start planning collaboratively.

20 Apr

Integration strategy assessed


Client: A UK Clinical Commissioning Group.

Licensee: Renuma.

Measuring the effectiveness of a third-party intervention enabled participants to understand its impact and to consider other ways to improve the relationship between frontline service providers.

Overview

A group of doctors’ practices undertook an exercise to improve their relationship with social services in order to impact the efficiency and effectiveness of service provision. The chosen intervention was to co-locate dedicated social workers in practices to act as co-ordinators between the healthcare and social care teams. The commissioning organisation wanted to evaluate in what ways the intervention improved the relationship. Renuma was engaged to take a baseline measurement and a follow-up measurement to assess the intervention. The measurement included the ability to distinguish between the social workers co-located with the healthcare teams and wider group of social workers also working with those same healthcare teams.

Results

At baseline, the relationship between the clinical and social work teams was distant. Although there was a good level of mutual respect and a feeling that their objectives were aligned, both parties indicated a lack of understanding of each other’s worlds. A symptom of this was a feeling that the amount of contact between them was very inadequate.

Both parties were encouraged to find ways to build a better level of mutual understanding through the project, but not necessarily through lots of face-to-face contact, which was felt to be impractical.

After 16 weeks, the relationship was re-measured. In every aspect of the relationship, there was some improvement (particularly for the co-located social workers). The biggest impacts of the project were an improvement in the responsiveness of both parties to each other and an understanding that their cultures were much more aligned than previously thought. The different outlooks of the two professional groups were no longer seen to be a barrier.

Outcome

Of particular interest for the commissioners was that a low level of mutual understanding between the parties persisted throughout the intervention. Also, the improvements measured were confined to members of the dedicated (co-located) social work team rather than having spread wider in the social work system. These insights gave important context to the findings of a simultaneous qualitative evaluation and indicated that the intervention was unlikely to bring sustained change at the scale it was delivered.

30 Jan

Operational difficulties resolved

WEB-utility

Client: A UK utility company.

Licensee: Renuma.

Measuring the quality of relationships between three organisations provided an effective catalyst for improved delivery. After a relatively short amount of contact time, the improvements demonstrated over a 20-week period made tangible impacts upon how each organisation relates and how smoothly the street works operation runs in the locality.

Overview

Renuma was commissioned to work on a three-way relationship between the local team of a utility company, a civil contractor and a local authority. The desired outcome was to strengthen the relationships, so improving the flow and completion of street works.

The improvement project involved three main stages: planning the change by surveying the relational environment, doing the change through facilitated direct contact with the three parties and checking the change through follow up surveying.

  1. Plan – The various strands of relationship were mapped to identify the most appropriate representatives of each organisation that should be involved. Individuals representing different seniority and role were chosen, to ensure a rounded picture. The participants were brought up to speed with the methodology and their relationships measured using Relational Proximity® tools. Aggregated analysis was used to design two half-day workshops that would address the issues identified.
  2. Do – Workshops included representatives of each organisation. The relational measurements were used as a framework to facilitate the building of better mutual understanding and cooperation. Renuma designed face-to-face interactions, not only to improve relationship there and then, but also to encourage the development of longer-term actions that would continue to build relational momentum. The process motivated participants to look for ways to overcome issues together rather than awaiting another party’s action or escalating issues to a periodic management meeting. This sense of empowerment allowed the senior managers to address more systemic strategic issues.
  3. Check – In order to clearly assess whether the three relationships had significantly improved, they were measured again after 20 weeks. This second survey of the relational environment also gave insight into what further improvements could be made in the system.

Relational improvement outcomes

The 20-week relational check measurement showed clear progress in each of the three relationships. Every component of the relationship between the local authority and the other parties had improved. The detailed analysis gave the parties further insight into the ongoing actions that would sustain this improvement.

Operational improvement outcomes

As a result of the work to improve relationships, senior teams reported that previous blockages in effective planning and completion of street works had been removed. The improved communication and mutual understanding arising from the project allowed the backlog of delayed critical works to be cleared. This translated into an increased volume of successfully completed works and cost savings that arose from the avoidance of penalties.

The company commented that it had been an “important project for all involved … it highlighted that the issues were not just with one party, but were with the other two parties as well.”